Neither of Texas’ two quarterbacks had committed a turnover in their first four games. Coming into Saturday, the Longhorns were still unbeaten.
But both of those things changed Saturday.
Case McCoy lost two fumbles and David Ash threw two interceptions as three of the Longhorns’ five turnovers were returned for touchdowns while the Texas offense failed to find the end zone until late in the fourth quarter. Sooners junior quarterback Landry Jones threw for 367 yards, 305 of them and each of his three touchdown passes in the first half, leading Oklahoma (5-0) to a 55-17 win over Texas (4-1) Saturday at the Cotton Bowl in the AT&T Red River Rivalry.
“I was disappointed we didn’t live up to our side of the match,” head coach Mack Brown said. “This is one of the greatest games in college football and our players were so excited. A lot of new coaches, they were so excited. But we didn’t live up to our side of it so we’ve got to go back and do a better job next week.”
After scoring off of three first-quarter takeaways in each of their last two games, the Longhorns were the ones to fall victim to early turnovers. The Sooners racked up five takeaways, three of them in the first half. After McCoy’s first-quarter fumble led to an Oklahoma field goal, junior defensive back Demontre Hurst picked off Ash and returned the interception 55 yards for a Sooners score.
“You can’t turn the ball over,” freshman quarterback David Ash said. “We can’t put our defense in that kind of situation. Our defense played hard and they fought but whenever you give them 21 points, it’s going to be a tough game.”
On Texas’ opening drive of the second half, McCoy was sacked and fumbled as junior defensive end David King scooped the ball up and scored from 19 yards out. Then, senior defensive back Jamell Flemming pried the ball out of Mike Davis’ hands and returned the fumble 56 yards for another Sooners touchdown and giving his team a 55-10 lead.
Oklahoma’s three defensive touchdowns set a school record, but the Sooners offense more than played its part in the blowout victory. Jones picked apart a Longhorns secondary that entered the game as the Big 12’s top pass defense and helped Texas become the conference’s best scoring defense after four games. The junior found his two favorite targets – Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills – early and often as Broyles registered 122 yards and a touchdown on nine catches with Stills scoring twice in the second quarter.
“Landry Jones played like a Heisman winner today,” Brown said. “He was as good as anyone in the country today. He got pressure. He got it. And he still made throws. He did a tremendous job.”
If there were a silver lining for Texas, it would be Fozzy Whittaker. The senior running back was coming off an impressive showing last week against Iowa State and delivered again Saturday against Oklahoma with 45 rushing yards on just six carries, a 15-yard reception, and a 100-yard touchdown on a kickoff return in the second quarter. Another senior, tight end Blaine Irby, also provided some consolation with his first two receptions since Sept. 2008.
Texas faces another formidable opponent from Oklahoma when they take on No. 5 Oklahoma State next Saturday at home. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.
“We play another top-five team next week so we don’t have any time to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves,” Brown said.
Printed on October 10, 2011 as: Cotton Bowl Collapse